MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided information regarding the Menominee Paper Mill fire that began on the evening of Thursday, October 6.
As of 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, the US Environmental Protection Agency said the fire was contained and under control. However, part of the warehouse facility continues to burn. Local and regional fire department efforts are also underway.
There have been no reports of casualties associated with this incident. In addition to water, fire departments have begun using non-PFAS Class A foam on site.
Throughout October 11, EPA air monitoring detected higher levels of particulates in the surrounding area than the day before the fire began. EPA scientists and state and local public health officials are reviewing this data.
Continued air monitoring is expected to be required as site cleaning and debris removal continues over the next few weeks.
Public health agencies continue to advise residents to avoid smoky areas.
Levees and dikes continue to be added and improved to capture runoff. Reservoirs were constructed to temporarily store runoff water. EPA is working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to sample surface water at 21 locations. We are also conducting tests on potential spills from the accident site to the Menominee Water Treatment Plant and the adjacent Menominee River. EPA, state agencies, and local water utilities are coordinating to conduct sampling to ensure that drinking water supplies are unaffected and will share results as they become available.
State and federal environmental agencies have also been in contact with the warehouse’s industrial tenants to identify chemicals that were present in the warehouse at the time of the fire.
This incident is being handled under a unified chain of command led by the EPA. Agencies participating in the Joint Command include EGLE, Wisconsin DNR, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services (DHS), Menominee County, Marinette County, Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties, Mali Nett County Public Health. , the cities of Menominee and Marinette, and warehouse industrial tenants.
A Joint Information Center was established by the Joint Command to keep the public informed as response activities continue. JIC will send an update to the press by 3:00 pm (CT) each day of the response.
For more information, please visit https://response.epa.gov/menomineewarehousefire.
Is it a health hazard to breathe smoke from this fire?
Based on current information, inhaling particulate matter (PM) is a concern from inhaling smoke from fires. PM can affect your lungs and heart. Exposure to high enough levels of PM can cause coughing and difficulty breathing. It may aggravate existing lung conditions such as asthma.
PM can also cause cardiovascular effects such as arrhythmias. Smoke contains many irritating and harmful chemicals and particulates. Smoke can cause a variety of health effects, from burning eyes and runny nose to worsening chronic heart and lung disease. The standards used to make air quality decisions are designed to protect the most sensitive members of the population. These include heart and lung disease (asthma, COPD, lung cancer, etc.), the elderly, children, and pregnant women.
Not everyone is equally sensitive to smoke, but it’s a good idea to avoid inhaling smoke if you can. For health concerns, consult your doctor.
What are the chemicals in smoke?
Response agencies are actively monitoring and sampling the air to identify chemicals that may be present in the smoke.
Based on current information, the main concern is inhalation of particulate matter (PM) in smoke. In addition to particulate matter, the agency monitors other compounds, but no concerns have been identified for other compounds at this time.Recommendations may change as we learn more from air monitoring.
What about outdoor activities with a lot of smoke?
Avoid smoky areas as much as possible. Wear a mask to avoid inhaling the fine particles in the smoke. Cloth masks don’t offer the same level of protection, but they’re better than no mask.
Shower regularly to remove dust, soot and debris.
What if there is debris or ash on my property?
It is recommended that gloves be worn when handling debris or cleaning ash from surfaces with extreme caution.
When cleaning, wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water throughout the day. Use gloves and a shovel to remove large debris from your yard or property and place it in the trash. If you need to clean up debris or ash, wear a mask to avoid breathing in particulate matter.
Do not spread soot around. Avoid walking or driving on the material. If a small amount of soot or ash from a fire has accumulated on the property, it can be washed off using common cleaning methods such as a garden hose. Gardeners should wash their fruits and vegetables as normal to remove dirt and dust from the garden.
Before eating root vegetables, wash or peel them to remove soil from the garden.
How can you keep your family from being exposed to ash and debris?
Do not let children play with items covered in ash or debris. When outside, keep a close eye on your child so they don’t put their hands in their mouths. When returning indoors, take off the sooted clothes and shoes and wash your hands thoroughly. Clean toys, swings, patio furniture, barbecues, pools and spas before use.
How do you protect your pet?
If you are in an area affected by debris, please bring your pets (cats, birds, etc.) inside.
If you are in an area affected by debris, keep your dog on a leash and do not let him drink from puddles or other affected bodies of water. Do not feed your pet food that was outside during the fire or water from outside water bowls/troughs. If you do get ash on your pet’s paws or body, use a pet shampoo labeled for that type and wash it off immediately.
If your pet’s toys were outside during the fire, wash them with Dawn brand dish soap before using them again, or replace the dirty toys by disposing of them in your household waste.
How can I clean the inside and outside of my home as needed?
If cleaning must be done in a high traffic outdoor area, use a garden hose to wash away all visible ash.
Do not use a leaf blower or any other method that can throw ash or debris into the air. Hard surfaces (tile floors, countertops) can be wiped clean and rinsed with soapy water. Uncovered kitchen utensils (pots, pans, dishes) should be washed with soapy water or placed in the dishwasher.
Cleaning swimming pools and spas, removing/scouring debris, recirculating water through filters, and performing routine pool maintenance (e.g. checking pH levels).
Individuals should use gloves or a shovel to remove visible large particle debris from the yard and place it in a garbage container. Discard any food that may have been exposed and cannot be thoroughly cleaned before consumption.
Empty and clean pet food and water bowls outside.
How can I protect myself if I have to clean a surface?
Wear protective clothing when cleaning surfaces that may have soot deposited from a fire.
This includes gloves and, if possible, a face mask to protect against inhaling particles.
Cloth masks don’t offer the same level of protection as face masks, but they’re better than no mask at all.
What if the surface water on my property is affected?
Use gloves and a skimmer to remove floating debris along the shore and shore and dispose of it in the trash.
How do I address the potential impact on my HVAC system?
Clean or replace HVAC filters to ensure they are working efficiently and effectively. Wear a mask and gloves when removing or cleaning the air filter. Turn on the system’s “Fan” or “Recirculation” option to circulate the air in your home through the filter. For window air conditioners, close the outside air damper.
Is your drinking water in danger?
EPA, state agencies, and local water utilities are working together to take drinking water samples to ensure there is no impact on drinking water supplies and will share results as they become available.
In addition, EPA worked with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to collect surface water samples and test them for potential spills from the incident site to the menominee waste. are doing As surface water from Lake Michigan is the community’s source of drinking water, it flows into the water treatment plant and the adjacent Menominee River. Menominee, Michigan Warehouse Fire FAQ | 10/12/22 4:30 PM
If you have further concerns or questions, please call 211.
If you live in Wisconsin, the direct number is (877) 947-2211. If you live in Michigan, the direct number is (800) 338-1119.
Copyright 2022 WLUC. All rights reserved.